Yankees Connected to Impending Free Agent Yoenis Cespedes
The New York Yankees were recently listed as a potential suitor for impending free agent outfielder Yoenis Cespedes this winter.
Former New York Mets general manager and current MLB.com columnist Jim Duquette named the New York Yankees as one of three likely suitors for Yoenis Cespedes once he hits free agency this offseason.
Duquette sees Cespedes as the top position player on the market assuming he opts out of the three year deal he signed with the Mets last winter. Cespedes has been very vocal about enjoying his time in New York and has even surprisingly said he wouldn’t opt out of his contract, but has since backed off those comments.
The 31-year-old outfielder would be leaving millions of dollars and long-term security on the table if he doesn’t take advantage of the thin free agent market this year. A five year $100 million-plus deal seems all but a certainty after his strong campaign.
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Cespedes has hit .289/.359/.553 with 30 home runs in 488 plate appearances for the Yankees’ little brother this season. His work in the outfield hasn’t been great, but he’s been worth 3.2 WAR overall according to Baseball-Reference’s metric.
It’s a little surprising to see the Yankees linked to Cespedes after general manager Brian Cashman already said publicly this month that the club would stick with their internal outfield options for 2017 despite the struggles of rookies like Aaron Judge or Tyler Austin.
In addition to those two youngsters, New York has Brett Gardner, Jacoby Ellsbury, Aaron Hicks, Rob Refsnyder, and Mason Williams already on the 40-man roster, with Clint Frazier, Jake Cave, and Cesar Puello providing additional options in the minors. It’s not hard to see why Cashman wouldn’t want to bring in additional outfielders given how crowded the roster already is. Admittedly, none of that group came close to matching Cespedes’s production this year.
It’s not clear how informed this speculation is by Duquette. The former executive certainly has reliable sources in the industry, but this may be as simple as connecting the top free agent on the market with a club that has historically handed out nine figure contracts like candy. Cespedes’s stated preference to stay in New York could also be a factor behind this prediction.
Given everything we know about New York’s plans going forward, the idea of adding Yoenis Cespedes this winter seems extremely far fetched. The only way it makes any sense at all is if the team decides to trade Brett Gardner and/or Jacoby Ellsbury and replace him/them with Cespedes, which is a stretch.
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Still, Duquette is not a complete fool and presumably has some basis for making this pairing. At the very least fans should keep their ear to the ground and see if Yo’s name comes up again in the Yankees rumor mill.